Pat Conroy, Meet Martha Stewart

I love to read, and I love to cook. My love of reading led me to Pat Conroy. I’ve read ALL of his books. Multiple times. There’s nothing he writes that I would not read. And then there’s the queen of cooking, Martha Stewart. I’ve subscribed to her magazine for as long as I can remember! I remember one of the first recipes of hers I tried to make was a triple layer chocolate cake with lemon curd filling. It took the whole day to make, but it was worth it! Well, worth it to me. My husband walked away in disgust when I mentioned the lemon curd filling. He’s opposed to anything that even suggests lemons. No worries, I’m pretty sure I ate the whole thing myself!

Last week I had a bounty of fresh produce, notably a dozen corn and piles of delicious heirloom tomatoes! I knew immediately what I was going to do with the tomatoes. About 10 years or so ago I came across a recipe in Martha Stewart Magazine for a mixed tomato cobbler with a Gruyere crust.

If these tomatoes aren’t ‘mixed’ I don’t know any that are!!

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Martha’s recipe for the tomato cobbler is one of the simplest recipes around, and when you have such beautiful tomatoes, there’s no better way to showcase them! The crust comes together quickly, and one of the best things about it is it makes enough for two cobblers. Pop one crust in the freezer for the late summer bumper crop of tomatoes! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Serves 8

  • 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds assorted cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and 1 cup Gruyere cheese. Add 1 cup butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
  2. With machine running, pour ice water (about 1/4 cup) little by little through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without becoming wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Transfer to refrigerator; chill 1 hour.
  4. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
  5. Place tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar, and basil and pepper. When onion mixture is cooled, add to tomato mixture, and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to a deep 9 1/2- or 10-inch pie dish. Set aside.
  6. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out half the dough into a circle 1 inch larger than pie dish. Remaining dough may be frozen up to 1 month. Transfer rolled dough to top of dish; tuck in edges to seal. Make three to four small slits in crust; form a decorative edge if desired. In small bowl, mix egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush egg glaze over crust; sprinkle crust with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Place pie dish on a baking sheet to catch drips; bake until crust is golden and insides are bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let cobbler cool before serving.

Here it is in pictures….

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I really should have followed Martha’s instructions and let it cool fully before digging in. But it just smells so heavenly, it’s hard to resist.

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As I mentioned earlier, I have read everything Pat Conroy has ever written, and more than once. In the case of Beach Music, maybe eight times!! So given my love of all things Pat Conroy and all things related to food, it’s no surprise that I was reading The Pat Conroy Cookbook (for the second time). I decided that Pat Conroy’s recipe for summer corn chowder with seared scallops would be a great way to use up some of that corn.

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One of these days I’ll transcribe the recipe. But it’s basically a few cups of milk. Six or so ears of corn. After I take the corn of of the cob, I steep the cobs with the milk for a really rich corn flavor. Oh, and of course, there’s bacon.

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As we sat down to dinner that night, I imaged that Pat and Martha would have been proud of my efforts, and I smiled as I tried to envision them both at the table. The rather uptight, northern girl Martha and the thoroughly southern boy Pat; probably not a match made in heaven. If their food is any indication, I think they would have got on quite well!

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